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Full text of "Rapid Population Growth Consequences And Policy Implications"

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96 percent. These extraordinarily high rates result from the rapidity with which mortality rates have dropped in recent decades, from the higher birth rates in some developing countries than those in 19th century Europe, and from the absence of emigration opportunities for young Asians, Africans, and Latin Americans comparable to the opportunities which Europeans had in the late 18th and 19th centuries (32, p. 251).
Even if fertility rates should sharply drop, the number of young adults in developing societies should rapidly increase in the years ahead since all those who will become young adults in the near future have already been born. In most developing countries, the number of children under 15 far exceeds the number of individuals above the age of 30. There are 180 million children in India under the age of 15 and only 150 million adults over 30, compared with 60 million children in the United States and 93 million adults over 30. Barring a rapid rise in mortality, the number of young adults between 15 and 29 will sharply rise in many developing countries, so that in some countries it will exceed the number of people above the age of 30.
Do these figures necessarily mean that Asia, Africa, and Latin America are destined to have a more turbulent political life than that experienced by Europe and America in the 19th century? Much depends upon the extent to which political attitudes and behavior are linked with age and the extent to which these links transcend cultures. Does the rise in the number of young people, irrespective of the country's economic and social structure, mean a rise in radicalism; and conversely, does an aging population necessarily mean more conservatism? Though insurrectionary movements in Cuba, Vietnam, Angola, and elsewhere in the developing world appear to be essentially movements of young men, as were revolutionary movements in the past, can we not also point to countries with large numbers of young people which have not experienced revolutionary upheavals? If so, one could argue that an increase in the number of young adults may be a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for revolutionary movements. However, one can readily see factors at work in many developing societies which would encourage an increasingly youthful population to be revolutionary.
Insofar as many developing societies continue to be ranked by age and older people, irrespective of their performance, continue to demand both respect and authority, young people are likely to become frustrated at the lack of opportunities made available to them within established institutions. If the young adult population increases more rapidly than job opportunities, then there will be a rapid increase in the number of unemployed or underemployed. Moreover, the movement of many young adults from villages where traditional social controls continue to operate to colleges and universities in the cities means that young adults are concentrated and, therefore, may be more able to organize as a cohesive political force. It does not follow,